Kin. Well excus'd: That thou didst loue her, strikes some scores away From the great compt: but loue that comes too late, Like a remorsefull pardon slowly carried To the great sender, turnes a sowre offence, Crying, that's good that's gone: Our rash faults, Make triuiall price of serious things we haue, Not knowing them, vntill we know their graue. Oft our displeasures to our selues vniust, Destroy our friends, and after weepe their dust: Our owne loue waking, cries to see what's done, While shamefull hate sleepes out the afternoone. Be this sweet Helens knell, and now forget her. Send forth your amorous token for faire Maudlin, The maine consents are had, and heere wee'l stay To see our widdowers second marriage day: Which better then the first, O deere heauen blesse, Or, ere they meete in me, O Nature cesse

Laf. Come on my sonne, in whom my houses name Must be digested: giue a fauour from you To sparkle in the spirits of my daughter, That she may quickly come. By my old beard, And eu'rie haire that's on't, Helen that's dead Was a sweet creature: such a ring as this, The last that ere I tooke her leaue at Court, I saw vpon her finger

Ber. Hers it was not

King. Now pray you let me see it. For mine eye, While I was speaking, oft was fasten'd too't: This Ring was mine, and when I gaue it Hellen, I bad her if her fortunes euer stoode Necessitied to helpe, that by this token I would releeue her. Had you that craft to reaue her Of what should stead her most? Ber. My gracious Soueraigne, How ere it pleases you to take it so, The ring was neuer hers

Old La. Sonne, on my life I haue seene her weare it, and she reckon'd it At her liues rate

Laf. I am sure I saw her weare it

Ber. You are deceiu'd my Lord, she neuer saw it: In Florence was it from a casement throwne mee, Wrap'd in a paper, which contain'd the name Of her that threw it: Noble she was, and thought I stood ingag'd, but when I had subscrib'd To mine owne fortune, and inform'd her fully, I could not answer in that course of Honour As she had made the ouerture, she ceast In heauie satisfaction, and would neuer Receiue the Ring againe

Kin. Platus himselfe, That knowes the tinct and multiplying med'cine, Hath not in natures mysterie more science, Then I haue in this Ring. 'Twas mine, 'twas Helens, Who euer gaue it you: then if you know That you are well acquainted with your selfe, Confesse 'twas hers, and by what rough enforcement You got it from her. She call'd the Saints to suretie, That she would neuer put it from her finger, Vnlesse she gaue it to your selfe in bed, Where you haue neuer come: or sent it vs Vpon her great disaster

Ber. She neuer saw it

Kin. Thou speak'st it falsely: as I loue mine Honor, And mak'st connecturall feares to come into me, Which I would faine shut out, if it should proue That thou art so inhumane, 'twill not proue so: And yet I know not, thou didst hate her deadly, And she is dead, which nothing but to close Her eyes my selfe, could win me to beleeue, More then to see this Ring. Take him away, My fore-past proofes, how ere the matter fall Shall taze my feares of little vanitie, Hauing vainly fear'd too little. Away with him, Wee'l sift this matter further

Ber. If you shall proue This Ring was euer hers, you shall as easie Proue that I husbanded her bed in Florence, Where yet she neuer was. Enter a Gentleman.

King. I am wrap'd in dismall thinkings

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book